New Delhi: Over the past one month, students at various institutions have come out in protest and taken the path of agitation to press for their demands.
While social media is abuzz with reactions to the protests and police action at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi where students are agitating against the Narendra Modi government’s decision to effect a steep hike in the hostel fees, student protests and demonstrations have hit some of India’s many other prestigious academic institutions too.
Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi
For almost three weeks, students of JNU have been protesting against a 300 per cent fee hike that will come into effect next January.
On Monday, the protest took a violent turn as the police used force and detained over 50 students. They were later released.
The university did announce a partial rollback but students are unsatisfied and insist on a complete withdrawal of the fee hike.
The HRD ministry has set up a three-member committee to study their demands and come up with a solution. Meanwhile, the protests continue.
JNU Student Union president Aishe Ghosh has said the students will not step back until there is a complete rollback.
A fee hike is the cause of trouble here too.
Several M.Tech and PhD students at IIT Bombay continue to stage protests against a 300 per cent hike in the tuition fee effected in September. The IIT council recently brought in changes in the fee structure that included an end to the monthly stipend provided to M.Tech students.
The council passed a resolution on 26 September increasing the tuition fee from Rs 30,000- Rs 50,000 to Rs 2-Rs 3 lakh. The monthly stipend of Rs 12,400 given to the M.Tech students was also rolled back.
As part of a nationwide call for protest at IITs against the HRD ministry’s decision to hike the fees and stop some of the stipends, the students of IIT BHU joined the agitation last week.
On 7 November, their convocation day, a group of students protested and refused to receive their degree from Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.
Ayurvedic colleges in Uttarakhand
It has been over 50 days since thousands of students of Uttarakhand’s private ayurvedic colleges have been protesting in Dehradun against a 170 per cent fee hike.
The Uttarakhand High Court had directed a roll back of then Harish Rawat-led government’s decision to increase the fee in 2015. The order, however, is yet to be implemented. This has forced students to take out rallies, hold hungerstrikes and sit-in protests. The tuition fee has been increased from Rs 80,000 to Rs 2,15,000 per annum.
In July 2018, the high court had ordered a reversal of the fee hike stating that it was ‘unreasonably high’. The court also asked the private colleges’ management to refund the increased amount, which has still not been initiated.
The colleges not supporting the high court’s orders are said to be owned by several RSS and BJP members. One of the colleges is run by the Divya Yoga Mandir (Trust) that is headed by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna.
A suicide case has sparked major unrest among students at the premier engineering institute.
IIT-Madras student Fathima Latheef committed suicide on 9 November in her hostel room. Her family has accused the administration of discriminatory behaviour on religious grounds.
The student unions are on protest, demanding a fair probe into the matter with at least two students sitting on hungerstrike. The students are demanding an internal inquiry and a grievance redressal committee to be set up.
The students of Banaras Hindu University’s Sanskrit course are protesting against the appointment of a Muslim teacher to the department.
Feroz Khan, 29, was appointed as an assistant professor in the department of literature in the Sanskrit faculty called ‘Vidya Dharm Vigyan’. The students are unhappy with the decision and have issued a statement that it “hurts the sentiments of Madan Mohan Malviya (BHU founder), who had clearly stated that no non-Hindu can teach or study in the University’s Sanskrit department”.
The administration later issued a statement that Khan’s appointment was the result of a unanimous decision. The students, however, remain adamant on their demand of appointing a Hindu teacher.